Week three of the MLS saw Portland Timbers setting the tone, and the quality of LA Galaxy getting their first win of the season.
Portland Timbers maintain perfect start
Three wins from three games has Portland Timbers setting the MLS’ tone early in the season, and they look like the team to stop. They enjoyed another terrific performance on the weekend, defeating Houston Dynamo 4-2 at Providence Park. Both teams conceded penalties early on in the match, both from handballs. Diego Valeri kicked off the scoring for the Timbers before Erick Torres equalised. Houston went into the main break with the lead via a stunning ball played to Romell Quito, who coolly converted. But Valeri added his second to give the hosts the equaliser, and they ran away winners from there. Fernando Adi showed plenty of skill and was rewarded with a goal, showing why is he one to watch this season.
LA Galaxy finally get a win on the board
After two very disappointing outings, LA Galaxy finally notched up their first win of the MLS season, 2-1 over Real Salt Lake. The hosts opened accounts on the 18th minute but were soon reduced to 10 men when Kyle Beckerman was shown his second yellow card just before half time. Galaxy took advantage of the extra man in the 69th minute through a thumping strike from Dave Romney, and that advantage told again. A cross from Romain Alessandrini found Emmanuel Boateng, who side footed the ball into the net.
No Giovinco, no worries
Toronto star man Sebastian Giovinco was out for their clash against local side Vancover Whitecaps through injury, and one would think that Toronto would sorely miss the quality that Giovinco brings. However, Toronto had other ideas. The injury to Giovinco did not dampen their spirits; instead it ignited them. Toronto put on an emphatic performance, defeating Canada rivals Vancover Whitecaps 2-0 with goals to Victor Vazquez and Jozy Altidore. They looked aggressive and knew what to do with the ball, and had a real attacking threat about them.
Atlanta becoming the attacking kings
Atlanta United are on a roll at the moment. They routed Minnesota United 6-1 last week and thrashed Chicago Fire 4-0 this. Atlanta were dominant and this was evident when they hit the front in the fourth minute through a Brandon Vincent own goal. But it was not until the second half when Atlanta really excelled, piling on three more goals. It is only week three, but Atlanata are starting to hit their straps at the right time, and they could be the next attacking threat. That is now 10 goals in two games for the club, a welcoming statistic for the new boys.
Woeful referring decisions outweigh what is on show
Round three of the MLS saw some shocking decisions from referees, whether they were too harsh on handing out red cards or pointing to the spot. During the Atlanta vs Chicago clash, Joao Miera was sent off for having his arm over Martinez. It was a clear foul, but the card should have been a yellow at best, and perhaps Martinez made the most of the contact. Brek Shea was also the victim of card happiness. Again, his offence was worth a yellow, but dissent did not help his case. There were seven penalties awarded. Most were genuine but nevertheless, controversy remained. Steve Birnbaum nudged a Columbus player and the referee pointed to the spot. Soft, maybe, but it shows that if you make any contact in the 18-yard box, you run the risk.